GREECE is on the brink of returning to lockdown after the country reports a rise in coronavirus cases following the return of international tourists.
Greece is set to welcome Brits from next week with UK flights arriving from July 15, this could now be in question and the worry is the country may have to re-impose lockdown should the spike in cases continue.
Overall cases have remained low across Greece, with just 2,105 active cases of coronavirus but within days of opening up to tourists, the country reported over 100 news cases.
Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said authorities were “determined to protect the majority from the frivolous few”. He said that the government will not hesitate to introduce new restrictions if required on Monday. Coronavirus cases have crept back up since the resumption of international travel. Petsas said authorities are now focusing on rising cases in nearby countries and monitoring tourists who travelled to Greece over the land border with Bulgaria.
The alarming rise in cases has prompted Greek authorities to announce tougher border checks for tourists as well as more frequent inspections at businesses where crowds are likely to gather. Greece on Friday said it would require travellers crossing its land border with Bulgaria to provide proof they have tested negative for coronavirus as cases surged elsewhere in the Balkans.
Greece’s sole border crossing currently open to tourists is with Bulgaria and is crossed by thousands of mainly Balkan travellers every day. ‘All those entering for non-essential reasons from July 14 are obliged to show a negative (nasal swab) test result up to 72 hours prior to entry,’ government spokesman Stelios Petsas told reporters.
The UK travel industry is waiting for news from the Greek government before it can instruct its members on future bookings, but many say they expect an avalanche of refund requests.